Of divinity, virtue and compassion
Chinmaya Mission Australia presented ‘On A Quest’, a film based on Swami Chinmayananda, his life and mission. Held on 29th November, 2015, the film, showcased the many contributions Swami Ji made and continues to make.
Swami Chinmayananda known for his love, compassion and magnificence has touched and transformed the lives of many even after 22 years since he left his physical form and 100 years since his birth in Ernakulum, Kerala.
Swami Chinmayananda or Gurudev as he’s called, had his heart filled with sympathy and kindness. His love towards children and mothers is reflected very much in his work, later on under the umbrella of Chinmaya Mission. He started “Bal Vihars” for children to inculcate values and culture in them. He introduced maatru pooja in the Bal Vihars, so that we may learn to appreciate the unqualified love of our own mothers as well.
Gurudev had a keen understanding of the youth. He often said that the youth were not useless, but used less. He started Yuva Kendras, where young people are made aware of their potential through the study of scriptures and their potential is then directed towards creative channels via cultural, social and spiritual programmes.
The great yogi, Chattambi Swamigal, blessed Gurudev when he was just a few days old and named him Balakrishnan Menon, meaning the child Krishna.
The young Balakrishnan, or Balan, grew up in a loving atmosphere. As he grew up, he revolted against traditions, whose meanings he did not understand. He started questioning the concept of God as well and wondered what the purpose of life was.
His meeting with the great yogi and saint, Swami Sivananda can be seen as a turning point of Gurudev’s life. The logic of Swami Sivananda’s teachings, the science of life” and “the art of man-making” and his sheer love had a deep impact on Balan. He saw the goodness, kindness and charity of Swami Sivananda. Swami Sivananda patiently answered all the questions that had haunted young Balan over the years, like what the purpose of life is, why we are here, and so on.
On Sivaratri in 1949, Swami Sivananda initiated Balan into the holy order of sanyas. Balakrishnan Menon was reborn as Swami Chinmayananda.
Swami Sivananda, who had given Gurudev a missionary zeal, sent him to the reclusive Vedantic master, Swami Tapovanam, in Uttarkashi for an intensive study of the scriptures. Gurudev spent very austere times at the feet of Swami Tapovanam, serving his guru, studying, contemplating and gaining the ultimate knowledge.
After gaining the knowledge, Gurudev felt a great urge to share it with others. He sought and received the permission and blessings of Swami Tapovanam and, on 31 December 1951, Gurudev started his first series of discourses, which he called Jnana Yagna, in Pune.
Swami Chinmayananda literally changed the face of modern Hinduism. He broke the orthodox hold of Hindu scriptures and spread the divine knowledge to the masses of the country and abroad, in a logical, scientific way. He conducted 773 Jnana Yagnas, many of them lasting for weeks, teaching the Upanishads, Bhagwad Gita and other scriptural texts to hundreds of thousands of people. He wrote commentaries on the Bhagwad Gita (acknowledged as perhaps the finest ever written in English) and the major Upanishads. He went all out to spread what he called “the science of life” and “the art of man-making”.
We bow down in humble reverence and gratitude for the love, kindness, generosity and knowledge he gave us.
Chinmaya Mission, under the guidance of Swami Tejomayananda, is disseminating the knowledge of Vedanta through over 300 centres in India and around the world.
Contributed by: Swami Swaroopananda, Director of Chinmaya International Residential School, Coimbatore, who is also in-charge of Chinmaya Mission activities in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.